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A 39-year-old member asked:

How lethal is a pulmonary embolism?

5 doctor answers11 doctors weighed in
Dr. Creighton Wright
General Surgery 56 years experience
Variable: Some are subtle, and escape detection. Others are instantly lethal. Full range in between. Cause, size , degree of lung obstructed as well as pre embolic patient condition can cause variation.
Dr. Tony Su
Dr. Tony Suanswered
Pulmonary Critical Care 33 years experience
Depends: Depends on the amount of clot that travels to the lungs, underlying heart and lung conditions, and concurrent illnesses. Massive pulmonary emboli associated with low blood pressure, right heart failure, severe hypoxia and pulmonary hypertension are more likely to cause death. Also if pulmonary emboli occurs as a complication of another illness are more deadly.
Dr. Loki Skylizard
Thoracic Surgery 20 years experience
Quite deadly: Numerous factors. One-third of people with dvt/pe will have a recurrence within 10 years and one-third of people die within one month of diagnosis. I hope these links provide additional sources of information: http://goo.Gl/adb0m http://goo.Gl/jhprv.
Dr. Rick Koch
Cardiology 22 years experience
It can be very: Deadly but depends on size & how much it compromises oxygenation.
Dr. Calvin Weisberger
Cardiology 51 years experience
Pulmonary embolus: A small pe doesn't block off much of the lung. A large pe can block blood flow to a large part of the lung and cause death.

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Last updated Feb 4, 2021

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